EDINBURGH — The championship game of the Edinburgh boys basketball tournament came down to the final seconds.
South Decatur senior Lane Lauderbaugh had a chance to tie Tuesday’s title contest, but his layup bounced off the rim, allowing Indianapolis Lutheran to squeak by with a 55-53 victory.
“We had a shot at the end; it was a really good look,” Cougars coach Kendall Wildey said. “Sometimes they go in, sometimes they don’t.”
Wildey called timeout to orchestrate the final play. Lauderbaugh brought the ball up the court before passing it to Hunter Johnson. Evan Wullenweber set a backscreen for Lauderbaugh, who caught the lob. He dribbled once while spinning toward the rim. His shot from the left side of the bucket was slightly short. Neither team controlled the rebound as the ball bounced around until the horn sounded.
“It was well executed,” Wildey said. “It just didn’t go in.”
The Cougars were that close to defending their tournament title in 2019.
Indy Lutheran, a 1A school, improved to 6-2. The Saints beat North White and Edinburgh to reach the finals.
South falls to 4-4. The Cougars played a similarly closely-contested game in the opener, holding off Jac-Cen-Del 73-71. They beat Hagerstown 78-57 in Monday’s evening game.
Lauderbaugh, who is South’s all-time leading scorer, led the Cougars with 23 points in the championship. Johnson added 22, Jacob Scruggs had five and Wullenweber scored three.
Senior guard Tyler Sporleder, who has been battling an ankle sprain this season, sprained his other ankle. He could miss a couple weeks.
Lutheran controlled the tempo and made it a lower-scoring contest. The Cougars got behind 21-9 after the first quarter against the bigger Saints before clawing back.
“We played extremely hard and had great effort the last three quarters, so I’m happy with that,” Wildey said.
“Lutheran is just a good team, a solid ball club with a lot of height, very athletic. We battled back and even had a lead and a chance down the stretch. I thought we did a good job battling all night long.”
Wildey enjoys the Edinburgh tournament, particularly playing three games in two days. The Cougars haven’t fared too well this season on Saturday games after playing Friday night, losing to Greensburg and South Ripley – although both of them had the previous night off before playing South.
“We did a lot of good things,” Wildey said. “It’s early in year and there’s a lot of improvement to do, but the effort and conditioning didn’t hurt us last night.”
The Cougars will enjoy a few days to rest and recover before returning to practice Monday. Their next game is Jan. 8 against Southwestern (Hanover), followed by another home game the next night against Oldenburg Academy.
Southwestern (Hanover) is 6-1 and ranked No. 14 in 2A.
“It seems like everybody we play is ranked,” Wildey said.
Other currently ranked teams the Cougars have played include 1A Morristown (No. 6), Jac-Cen-Del (No. 11), 2A South Ripley (No. 11) and 3A Greensburg (No. 5).